When I started doing less phone scrolling and more reading last year, I was so surprised at how much more reading I was able to do. And I developed this incredible love affair with reading that I never had when I was in school and was required to read.
Many of you reached out to me after that post, hoping to do more reading yourselves.
Sometimes, I write about ideas and things I'm trying in an effort at essentialism, and they end up sticking. Sometimes, they help for just a short time, and then they fall away.
This particular less-phone-more-book effort has stuck so well that I'm writing with an update to encourage any of you who'd like to read more: try it!
I went from reading an average of one book every two or three months to reading an average of one book a week.
I'm hesitant to put those numbers out there because it's not about hitting a number goal, and honestly if reading doesn't feel important to you right now in your life, I hope you'll do something else instead of scrolling on your phone. It's just that I'm so thrilled to see this tangible result of what can happen when all those small minutes are used in a different way. A chosen way.
As you take deep breaths and try to put down the phone, know that you are so not alone. Love to you.
PS: For the readers and would-be readers, below is my reading list from 2016. I'm surprised to learn that it's a vulnerable thing, sharing your reading list. I welcome your recommendations for my 2017 reading.
My 2016 Reading List
- Chike and the River, Chinua Achebe
- Women of Sand and Myrrh, Hanan Al-Shaykh
- Kindred, Octavia E. Butler
- The Girl in the Road, Monica Byrne
- Half a Lifelong Romance, Eileen Chang
- Lust, Caution, Eileen Chang
- The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
- The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz
- Fortunately the Milk, Neil Gaiman
- After Dark, Haruki Murakami
- Binti, Nnedi Okorafor
- Kabu Kabu, Nnedi Okorafor
- Who Fears Death, Nnedi Okorafor
- In the Skin of a Lion, Michael Ondaatje
- A Tale for the Time Being, Ruth Ozeki
- The Magician's Assistant, Ann Patchett
- The Patron Saint of Liars, Ann Patchett
- Run, Ann Patchett
- State of Wonder, Ann Patchett
- This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, Ann Patchett
- Happy are the Happy, Yasmina Reza
- Noah's Wife, Lindsay Starck
- The Gap of Time, Jeanette Winterson
- The Interestings, Meg Wolitzer
- Radical Acceptance, Tara Brach
- True Refuge, Tara Brach
- Daring Greatly, Brene Brown
- Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown
- Rising Strong, Brene Brown
- The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer, Dan Buettner
- Creativity, Inc., Ed Catmull
- The Art of Happiness at Work, The Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler
- Bringing Up Bebe, Pamela Druckerman
- Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert
- Blink, Malcolm Gladwell
- Essential Writings, Thich Naht Hahn
- Lying, Sam Harris
- Waking Up, Sam Harris
- Thrive, Arianna Huffington
- Loving What Is, Byron Katie
- Show Your Work!, Austin Kleon
- Curious, Ian Leslie
- The Crossroads of Should and Must, Elle Luna
- The Art of Asking, Amanda Palmer
- Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation, Parker J. Palmer
- 100 Essays I Don't Have Time to Write, Sarah Ruhl
- The Untethered Soul, Michael Singer
- Tiny Beautiful Things, Cheryl Strayed
- The Elements of Style, Strunk and White
- The Book of Forgiving, Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu
A few that I read a good chunk of, really enjoyed, and for some reason never got back to:
- The Secret Life of Pronouns, James W. Pennebaker
- Real Food/Fake Food, Larry Olmsted
- Unfinished Business, Anne-Marie Slaughter (November/December)
And a final note: I also quit a few books on purpose this year. They didn't work for me, and since I've discovered about a gazillion books I dearly want to read, I decided not to spend time finishing a book just because I'd started it!